An update on updates; AOY’s aggregate year-end list; new Desaparecidos video; The Queers tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:49 pm December 8, 2015
Desapare-pilgrams in a still from their latest video.

Desapare-pilgrims in a still from their latest video.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s not as if I’m avoiding updates, it’s just that there’s virtually nothing going on music-wise lately.

Moreso than past holidays, there aren’t that many shows scheduled, especially involving touring indie bands. And we don’t even have any major “reunion” shows this holiday (Last year it was Ritual Device, remember?). Things will pick up… next year. Or at least next February, when Godspeed and Eleanor Friedberger come to town.

Actually, there’s a decent punk rock show tonight at Lookout Lounge. The Queers return to Omaha for a full night of punk that includes The Kennicks, DSM-5 and The Pee Cats. $10, 8 p.m. start time.

And Lookout Lounge has one of the hotter indie acts playing Sunday night — Car Seat Headrest. Way to step up, Lookout!

* * *

In the meantime, every online publication is putting out their 2015 “Best of” lists. Sure you can try to find them all by clicking around, or you can simply go to the Album of the Year website, where they not only list all the “best of” lists, but they’ve developed a handy “year end list aggregate” that ranks the albums based on how all the other websites ranked them in their lists.

So far, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is the clear No. 1, with Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell in a distant second place. Hop Along’s Painted Shut, which was released by Saddle Creek Records, comes in at a respectable No. 42, with three top-10 and one top-25 placements.

Missing from the list of 32 publications is Pitchfork, and maybe the most important list of all, the Lazy-i Top 15 or 20. You’ll just have to keep waiting for both of those…

* * *

Let me leave you with this just-released new video by Desaparecidos for the tune “Golden Parachutes.” Get a quick history lesson and watch Landon meets his maker at the Boston Tea Party. Doesn’t get much better than that.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Sufjan Stevens at The Orpheum Theater; Conor Oberst hospitalized, Desa tour cancelled…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:40 pm October 29, 2015
Sufjan Stevens at The Orpheum, Oct. 28, 2015.

Sufjan Stevens at The Orpheum, Oct. 28, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I warned you it was going to be a first-class bummer.

If you came to last night’s Sufjan Stevens concert at a nearly sold out Orpheum Theater and expected a career retrospective performance you probably left disappointed, but really, what did you expect? The guy is out supporting his new album Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty, 2015). Did you really think he was going to play all your faves off the Illinoise and Michigan albums?

C&L has been lauded as a career high-water mark for Stevens. It’s the third highest-rated album for 2015 in the Album of the Year composite list. Critics love it. I wanted to love it, but I’ve managed to work my way through the collection only a handful of times. It’s not so much that the theme — a survivor’s elegy to a dead mother and a prolonged meditation on the inevitability of death — is too depressing (a large share of Stevens’ catalog is mournful), it’s that the songs can be somewhat boring and lack the variety heard on earlier records.

That said, Stevens managed to liven up the songs’ arrangements on stage for a concert almost solely dedicated to a dreary album. Nearly every song started with Stevens glowing in a single overhead spotlight while he sang in his trademark twee coo, meticulously picking out an intricate guitar line on an acoustic. Behind him, massive video screens in the shape of cathedral-style cut-outs showed serene landscapes or seascapes or Super 8-style home movie footage of him or his parents in happier times.

The rest of the band, a talented four-piece on keyboards, strings, horns and percussion, slowly crept in by the second verse, eventually building each number to a full-on symphonic rage that came back to Stevens standing in that lone spotlight. Beautiful stuff, but as the person sitting next to me said, “Doesn’t he have any upbeat songs?” My whispered response: Wait until the encore.

Sufjan Stevens at The Orpheum Oct. 28, 2015.

Sufjan Stevens at The Orpheum Oct. 28, 2015.

There were a few songs that broke the mold, including a blistering version of “Vesuvius” from The Age of Adz and a throbbing reinvention of “All of Me Wants All of You” from C&L that was a show highlight along the main set-closer — a 10-minute-long noise collage at the end of “Blue Bucket of Gold” that, when combined with a startling lighting effect, felt like swimming underwater during a hurricane.

If there’s a quibble it was with the sound mix. There was too much delay in Stevens’ vocals during the first half of his set, leaving his usually clean, pristine-sounding lyrics indecipherable. They got it figured out by the end.

After a standing ovation and a brief pause, Stevens came out for an encore that included older fan favorites like “Holland” off the Michigan album, which I haven’t seen on any of his other set lists, a version of “Concerning the UFO sightings Near Highland, Illinois,”  a great take on one of my faves, “Casimir Pulaski Day,” and a stunning version of “Chicago” that left the crowd wanting more.

The show started right at 7:30 with a half-hour set by Gallant, an LA-based R&B singer whose style wasn’t my thing, though he had a fantastic backing band (especially the guitarist, who blazed throughout the set). It was a strange choice for an opener, but I’ve come to expect odd parings when I see artists at The Orpheum. I guess it’s better than no opener at all, right?

* * *

By now you’ve already heard that Desaparecidos’ tour has been cancelled. The band issued a statement yesterday saying Conor Oberst fell ill on tour while in Jacksonville, Florida, and was briefly hospitalized due to laryngitis, exhaustion and anxiety. In consultation with Oberst’s doctor the band “reluctantly agreed” to cancel all scheduled live dates. “Conor will be heading home to Omaha to recuperate.”

In addition to the O’Leaver’s gig, the cancellation includes the Dec. 2 Oberst solo gig as part of the Ground Control Touring 15th Anniversary show at Webster Hall in NYC.

Here’s hoping Mr. Oberst gets back on his feet soon. Ain’t nothing more valuable than your health.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT: Head of Femur from 2003; Desaparecidos returns Nov. 22; The Mynabirds tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:59 pm September 17, 2015
Head of Femur at Sokol Underground, Sept. 11, 2003. #TBT

Head of Femur at Sokol Underground, Sept. 11, 2003. #TBT

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This week’s #TBT Moment (above) is Head of Femur at Sokol Underground, Sept. 11, 2003. From the review:

You have to see this band to believe it. People who really dug the Bright Eyes orchestra last year will be the most entertained, although I think this ensemble is far superior. Bright Eyes thing was to create this dense, rhythmic experience (there was something like three percussionist in Oberst’s orchestra). Femur’s is more about creating an almost vaudeville-ian noise. I talked about their sound in the article, but the guy next to me put it more concisely. He turns to me, smiling, and yells “They sound like a 21st Century version of ELO.” Not bad. In fact, pretty damn close. Not quite the same melodies, but a similar intensity. Everyone is on top of each other during the songs, bouncing off one another both physically and musically, creating these large-scale, intricate pop songs that wander from different time signatures and keys and dynamics. For added effect and chaos, two small bubble machines haphazardly made bubbles during a few songs, sending glistening bits of soap around the band a la everyone’s favorite waltzmaster Lawrence Welk.–Lazy-i, Sept. 19, 2003.

If you missed that show, no worries. Head of Femur is scheduled to play at O’Leaver’s Oct. 4, just 12 years after the above show took place. I’m sure nothing has changed.

* * *

You didn’t really think that was the last time you’d see Desaparecidos on an Omaha stage, did you? The band just announced one more gig, this time at fabulous O’Leaver’s Nov. 22 with So-So Glos and Digital Leather. All for a mere $20. I suggest you buy your tickets now to this very limited engagement.

* * *

Tonight at The Slowdown (main stage) it’s the return of The Mynabirds, performing songs off their new album, Lovers Know (reviewed here). Opening is Minneapolis band Bad Bad Hats (Afternoon Records) and the amazing High Up. $10, 9 p.m. Expect a crowd.

Also tonight, Rock Paper Dynamite continues its month-long residency at O’Leaver’s. Opening for them tonight is Matt Cox and Sidewalkers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Desaparecidos, Joyce Manor; Kamasi Washington tonight; Blackstone Farnam Fest (Digital Leather, M34N STR33T), Palehound Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm September 11, 2015
Desaparecidos at The Waiting Room, Sept. 10, 2015.

Desaparecidos at The Waiting Room, Sept. 10, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this awkward political season when President Trump (roll that one around in your head for a few moments) is making headlines while stealing music from the likes of R.E.M., Desaparecidos punched back at ol’ Teflon Don by playing some (likely unauthorized) Trump audio as an introduction to last night’s SRO show at The Waiting Room.

There was Trump’s blather at its most boob-tatstic presumably “introducing” the band during the audio pre-roll, right before Omaha’s own took the stage and proceeded to blow the place up with their cynical brand of spirited, punk-fueled political discourse, spewing a world view that couldn’t be further away from The Donald’s own.

If last night truly was the last time we see this band on an Omaha stage, they certainly went out with a massive thunderclap. Easily the best set I’ve seen them play — on edge, angry, musically precise. They performed all the best stuff off their two full lengths in what Oberst said was a record-breakingly long set, even though it only clocked in at just over an hour.

The differences between the band’s two albums never stood in more contrast than they did last night. Payola is a more guttural record, more intense and straight forward than Read Music, Speak Spanish, which we forget was written during Oberst’s creative peak, right around the time of Lifted and just before Wide Awake.

Payola songs are all power and political invective reflecting a specific time and specific political issues, while Read Music provided broader social commentary, certainly more subtle and poetic. Oberst was more apt to scream the lyrics of Payola songs, while for tunes like “Man and Wife, The Latter (Damaged Goods)” (which probably could have been a Bright Eyes song) he pulled back and sang with a focused clarity. It was that contrast that gave last night’s show added depth.

The entire band was on point. Bassist/guitarist Landon Hedges’ role as a second voice never sounded more vital to the overall sound. Denver Dalley’s guitar solos were raw and majestic, and Matt Baum proved once again he’s one of the area’s most powerful drummers. Balancing it out was Ian McElroy, a bobbing head of hair slouched over his keyboard.

Between-song patter was kept to a minimum, except toward the end of the set when Oberst introduced “Marikkkopa” by underscoring the racial divide in Omaha and the rest of the country. Oberst said (and I’m paraphrasing here) just when he thought things were getting better, along comes Trump (“I shouldn’t even say his name.”) or another story about a black kid getting shot by cops for doing nothing more than buying Skittles. But at the same time, there’s Obama “who’s been a good president” and the liberation of South Carolina from its hateful Confederate flag. For a brief moment, Oberst sounded hopeful. Right before the band blasted into a song about one of the most vile people in the history of these United States.

I don’t know if the show ultimately sold out. They were selling tickets at the door when I arrived at 10. That said, I can’t remember the last time The Waiting Room was so packed — butt-to-belly from stage to back bar, a youngish crowd, with a handful of old folks like me standing in the corners, watching the crowd-surfing from a safe distance. Was it their last hurrah? Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of this band on an Omaha stage.

Joyce Manner at The Waiting Room, Sept. 10, 2015.

Joyce Manner at The Waiting Room, Sept. 10, 2015.

Opening act Joyce Manor, who released music on seminal indie punk label Asian Man before signing to Epitaph, played a brief set of brief songs clearly influenced by Weezer. They were at their best during the moments they strayed the furthest from CuomoLand and into their own emo-pop-punk territory. Loud, fun, but very much a retread of everything we’ve heard before, from The Get Up Kids to You Blew It. Still, the kids loved them.

* * *

Let’s get to the weekend.

I’ve always thought The Slowdown (specifically Slowdown Jr.) would make an amazing jazz club. Tonight you’ll be able to see how Slowdown’s big room works for jazz as one of the most critically lauded new jazz performers takes the big stage. Kamasi Washington has pushed beyond the jazz world with his latest recording, The Epic (Brainfeeder, 2015). And part of the reason for that extended reach is an 8.6 review in Pitchfork, where the album was honored with Pitchfork‘s “Best New Music” classification. And there’s also the fact that Kamasi is playing venues like The Slowdown on this tour. Delve Trio (formerly Luke Polipnick Trio) opens. $25, 8 p.m.

Here’s a taste of Kamasi’s latest album:

Also tonight, Omaha alt-country band Clarence Tilton opens for Iowa City indie band The Olympics at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Eklectica also is on the bill. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Local hip-hop hero Buck Bowen headlines at Reverb Lounge with bIXill & A Ferocious Jungle Cat. $8, 9 p.m.

The weekend’s BAE (Big Ass Event) is Saturday at the new Farnam Street District. The Blackstone Farnam Festival features food and booze from the fine establishments located in this happening now part of town, along with music from Digital Leather, M34N STR33T, Oquoa, Huge Fucking Waves and producer/DJ Kethro. It all takes place on 40th Street between Farnam and Dodge. Starts at 5 p.m., runs to 11, and is absolutely free.

Later that night, it’s back to Benson for what will be one of the last (if not thee last show ever) at Sweatshop Gallery. The line-up: headliner Palehound, Uh Oh, Low Long Signal and Strawberry Runners. $8, 9 p.m. Someone needs to save Sweatshop’s iconic zebra zig-zag stage backwall design.

Look out for motor scooters in Benson Saturday night as the Hell On Wheels Scooter Rally 2 will be in full effect, with a concert at The Sydney featuring The Bishops. $5 or free if you’re a registered rally rider. Starts at 8 p.m.

Back at O’Leaver’s Saturday night Red Cities headlines with The Broke Loose and Once a Pawn. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday night, Japanese punk band Mugen Hoso plays at The Lookout Lounge with The Big Al Band. The show is listed as starting at 6 p.m. and is $5.

And finally, it’s once more back to O’Leaver’s for the homecoming of New Yorker Darren Keen. Joining him is Channel Pressure (Todd from The Faint and Graham from Reptar) and Giant Claw. $5, 9 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Desaparecidos (remarkably, still not sold out), Joyce Manor, Radkey tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:22 pm September 10, 2015
Desaparecidos at The Waiting Room, Oct. 22, 2013. The band returns to The Waiting Room tonight.

Desaparecidos at The Waiting Room, Oct. 22, 2013. The band returns to The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before I left on vacation to NYC, warnings were being posted in Facebook that tickets to tonight’s Desaparecidos show at The Waiting Room were in short supply. It’s now the day of the show and tickets are still available — which is surprising, or maybe not so surprising.

Desa played Coachella this year; their new album, Payola, has been heaped with praise; the band performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers this past June, and Desa regularly sells out shows in other cities. So why haven’t they sold out their home town gig?

Well, the question of whether or not Desa is even an “Omaha band” has been kicked around by a few folks. I definitely consider them a hometown band even though Denver Dalley and Ian McElroy no longer live in Omaha, and Conor Oberst is (probably) only a part-time resident. Landon Hedges and Matt Baum remain fixtures of the local music scene, with Landon fronting Little Brazil and Baum performing in Montee Men.

The lack of a sell-out heralds back to a trend that began in mid-’90s and continued through the next 20 years, a trend of Omaha / Nebraska bands drawing better outside of their home state. I can’t tell you the number of times bands have commented to me that they enjoyed bigger crowds in St. Louis, New York, Chicago and Kansas City than when they played right here. Maybe we take the local talent for granted? Maybe we just assume “Meh, I’ll catch them next time” even if there may not be a “next time.”

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if tonight’s show sells out before the 9 p.m. start time. Before you go, read (or reread) the band’s “secret origin story” in The Reader, online here. Asian Man Records punk/emo band Joyce Manor opens the show, along with St. Louis act Radkey. $20. See you there.

Also tonight, Rock Paper Dynamite begins its September-long Thursday-night residency at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening is Super Ghost, who recently announced that they’ve been “signed” to new local label We’re Trying Records. Also on the bill is Clear the Day. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Origin of Desaparecidos (Denver Dalley interview), Team Rigge and Commander Venus; Twin Shadow, La Luz tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm September 8, 2015
Desaparecidos' 2001 stage debut at the Holy Name High School fieldhouse.

Desaparecidos’ 2001 stage debut at the Holy Name High School fieldhouse.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m back.

The feature on Desaparecidos in The Reader is on newsstands now and online right here. Denver Dalley (and I) recall the origin of the band, starting in 2000. He talks about its rise, its unannounced hiatus, its return and the band’s new album, Payola. Better go read it. The interview was conducted in support of the band’s concert this Thursday, Sept. 10, at The Waiting Room, which, rumor has it, is close to selling out. And as Dalley says in the story, if you’re on the fence about seeing them this time ’round, “There’s a chance there won’t be a next time.” Better get your tickets now.

One thing that didn’t make it into the story…

I concluded the interview with Denver the way I’ve concluded all the Desa interviews I’ve had with Denver, with this question: When will Team Rigge return?

Named after a building on Creighton’s campus — Dalley said hip-hop act Team Rigge has included Ian McElroy, The Faint’s Clark Baechle, Oberst, former Cursive drummer Clint Schnase, Son Ambulance’s Joe Knapp and Dan Maxwell of Little Brazil, who at the time was a member of Secret Behind Sunday.

Team Rigge tracks have shown up in the strangest places.  The first Team Rigge recording was included as a pretrack on Criteria’s 2003 debut LP. The only way to find it was by dropping the CD in a player and hitting the “rewind” button to discover — voila! — something preceded the first track. McElroy, who has carried on the team’s tradition as Rig 1, said in this 2008 interview that at the time Oberst lived next door to Criteria’s Stephen Pedersen in a small house just north of Dundee. The two shared recording equipment along with a copy of Pro Tools. That first recording featured McElroy, Oberst and Jenny Lewis. Here it is:

“I would love to see an actual Team Rigge reunion,” Dalley said. “Unfortunately, one of the original members, Dave Vederami, passed away recently.”

Still, Dalley said he’d “be curious” to see a reunion of surviving members. “I’d also love to see a Smashmouth reunion,” he said, referencing a band that included Criteria’s Pedersen, bassist Bart Volkmer and drummer Schnase.

“We’ve been trying to get Conor to cover a Commander Venus song,” Dalley added. “We tried back in 2001, but he thought the two bands (Desaparecidos and Commander Venus) sounded too similar.”

Denver said during Desa practices he’ll start to play a Commander Venus song and guitarist Landon Hedges will immediately join in, “but it just fades off. Maybe that will be my ultimate goal — to break him down before Sept. 10 to do one encore song.” Do you think CV guitarist Robb Nansel would join them on stage?

Get a load of baby Conor heard on this classic Commander Venus track:

* * *

Twin Shadow returns to The Waiting Room tonight. Twin Shadow is Dominican-born George Lewis, Jr., whose 2012 album Confess (4AD) was a dizzying trip back to ’80s electro-pop with a sound that recalled everything from General Public to Fine Young Cannibals to New Order. I caught the band this year at SXSW, where they played music from their current release, Eclipse, which isn’t much of a departure from Confess. Opening is electronic trio LANY. $17, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Seattle band La Luz headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s (where I’m told the new beer garden has finally opened (and must be seen to be believed)). Opening is Will Sprott and the always entertaining Sucettes. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Desaparecidos ‘don’t give a f***’; new Good Life; Sturgill Simpson tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:57 pm July 15, 2015
Desaparecidos rock the Holy Name Fieldhouse in April 2001.

Desaparecidos rock the Holy Name Fieldhouse in April 2001. And they still don’t give a f***.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been interviewing members of Desaperacidos since the band first formed way back in 2001. The guys have a new album called Payola, which came out on Epitaph last month, that just happens to be No. 14 in the College Music Journal top-20. With a show coming up Sept. 10 at The Waiting Room (which, btw, is bound to sell out, so if you want to go, you better get your $20 tix now), it would seem like an opportune moment to interview the band again.

However, I’m not sure what I’d ask the band that didn’t get covered in technicolor in this Noisey interview with Dan Ozzi that dropped today with the headline ‘Desaparecidos didn’t give a fuck back then and they don’t give a fuck now.’ In it, Conor Oberst and Matt Baum give candid, straightforward answers to questions that I probably would have asked, such as “Why did you go with Epitaph instead of Saddle Creek?” “What’s wrong with journalism these days?” and “Why has public opinion (in this case, Pitchfork) about Desa changed over the past 12 years?”

Perhaps the most controversial answer in the interview involves Saddle Creek:

You guys are so strongly associated with Saddle Creek. Why did you decide to go with Epitaph on this one?

Conor: Well, the Saddle Creek thing has been kind of unraveling for a long time. They’re still our friends, and I’ve definitely got no ill will. When the label started when we were all kids, it was very much a collective thing. I’m talking way back in like, ’93, ’94. The record label honestly started with me and our friend Ted Stevens, who plays in Cursive, and my brother Justin, and we started in my parents’ attic making Kinko’s copies of record sleeves. Anyway, the collective aspect sort of fell to the wayside and it became more of a regular business and certain peoples’ names ended up on the paperwork and other people’s didn’t and it… I don’t know. After years, it kind of soured a little bit and we happened to go our own way. I wish all of them the best, but we knew we weren’t gonna do it with them and we started talking about what label would make sense with our band, and what’s the label we respect, and can get it out there, and Epitaph was the very first one that…

OK, wow. There’s no question that Saddle Creek V.2015 is a lot different than Saddle Creek V.2001. The only artist from the label’s original “crown jewels” that’s stuck around is Cursive/Tim Kasher. Not sure what “certain peoples’ names ended up on the paperwork and other people’s didn’t…” means, but I can venture a guess, especially if things “soured a little bit…” Certainly Oberst and Co. didn’t go to Epitaph because it’s some sort of “collective” (’cause it ain’t).

Anyway, after I read this interview (and there have been countless others recently) I wondered what’s the point of pursuing an interview of my own? What could I ask that hasn’t already been asked? Just read these ones if you want to know what’s happening with the band.

That said, if anyone from the band wants some press in ol’ Lazy-i (and thereader.com), I’d love to shoot the shit with them…

BTW, Desaparecidos starts their next tour tomorrow in Indianapolis. Digital Leather opens that show along with the show the following night in St. Louis.

* * *

Speaking of crown jewels, here’s yet another new song off The Good Life’s upcoming album, Everybody’s Coming Down, out Aug. 14 on Saddle Creek Records.

* * *

We all know MarQ Manner, even some of you readers who don’t live in Omaha. MarQ is sort of the ex officio mayor of Benson and a strong supporter of bands that haunt Maple Street’s liquor corridor. While MarQ and I don’t always share the same taste in music, I pay attention when he goes ga-ga over anyone other than Prince (to which I’m already a fan). Kind of like he did with Sturgill Simpson.

I don’t follow country music, but I must say Simpson puts a modern face on a traditional approach to C&W that is hard to resist, even on first listen. Which is a round-about way of saying MarQ is right about this guy; he is special, and he’s playing tonight at Sokol Auditorium. So dust off your cowboy boots and scoot on down at 8, when opener Cody Jinks starts things off. Tix are $25.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Desaparecidos on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Semicircle (Reptar members) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:04 pm June 24, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight Desaparecidos joins a tradition that includes Bright Eyes, The Faint, Tilly and the Wall and Cursive by performing live on a nationally televised late-night chat show.

This time it’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. For frontman Conor Oberst, tonight’s performance will be old hat. He’s been doing the late night circuit for a decade. And Denver Dalley was on Jimmy Fallon’s show as part of a Har Mar Superstar performance in 2009. As for the rest of the band, I’m not sure. Matt Baum may have been part of Bright Eyes during one of those broadcasts. Ian? No idea. I’m pretty sure Landon and the rest of Little Brazil have yet to grace the national television airwaves.

Regardless, these late night TV appearances are always a moment of pride for all of us back here in flyover country. If you’re awake, tune in (or set your DVR). Also on the program, which airs at 11:30 p.m. CT on NBC, are male stripper Channing Tatum and Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox.

Another place to watch the show is on the TVs at fabulous O’Leaver’s, where tonight Semicircle is headlining. The band includes members of Reptar. Opening is Lineman’s Rodeo and Thick Paint (also members of Reptar). $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Drop Day: Desaparecidos’ Payola, Digital Leather’s All Faded…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:59 pm June 23, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

You read all the reviews yesterday, buy the album today. Desaparecidos’ Payola drops via Epitaph and is available at all the usual locations and online at iTunes, Amazon and on Spotify, where I’m currently listening to it. Bombastic? Yes.

Desa’s album, as you already know, is a social and political comment. Conor Oberst raging against the machine as only he can. He does as good a job as I suppose anyone could simplifying some of the most challenging issues of our time in less than three minutes per topic. Any more than three minutes would be overkill, both for these topics and these melodies. Because, let’s face it, all the best punk songs are less than three minutes long, right? Anyone following the band has already heard the best tracks (since they were released as singles over the past few years). Taken as a whole, the record is a solid collection of fist-pumping anthems, whether you understand what the songs are about or not.

Digital Leather, All Faded (2015, FDH Records)

Digital Leather, All Faded (2015, FDH Records)

On the other hand, Digital Leather’s All Faded, out today via FDH Records, is purely personal, as all Digital Leather records are. Do we really want to hear what frontman Shawn Foree thinks about immigration reform, social media or problems in the Middle East? No, we don’t (and I’m sure there’s some of you who don’t want to know what Conor thinks about those issues, either).

My thoughts on the record and the story behind the making of the album are online here. Quite simply, this is the best Digital Leather record since Warm BrotherAll Faded is available as a download or CD from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. The vinyl version doesn’t come out until this fall, but you can order it now from the label right here.

Sonically and lyrically, these two records couldn’t be more different, and yet they have one thing in common: You can understand every word of every lyric sung on both records.

It seems like a little thing — like a basic thing — but the majority of indie rock records these days sport vocals that are nothing more than indecipherable nuanced tone poems. To a lot of music fans, the words don’t matter, and that’s fine. They’re in it for the energy or the noise or the attitude, or in the case of “vibe” music or next-gen shoegaze, it’s all about the mood, the chord progressions, the drone. Fine.

But I’m at the point where if I can’t understand what the singer’s singing I blank out on the song. Maybe it’s a throwback attitude, or the fact that I grew up on songs that forced you to sing along. These days, there’s not much on Sirius XM (the only “radio” station I listen to that plays new music) that’s begs you to join in. Both of these records do. Go buy them.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Desaparecidos in Pitchfork (7.6 rating), others weigh in; Rig 1, High Up, Delta Spirit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:05 pm June 22, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tomorrow is another big music release day with new records from Digital Leather and Desaparecidos scheduled to drop.

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

In anticipation of the Desa release, Pitchfork reviewed their new album, Payola, today giving it a righteous 7.6 rating that tops the massively long, strange, wandering write-up by chief critic Ian Cohen. I think Cohen liked it, though the only out-and-out compliment was: “But Payola advocates chaining yourself to an ATM, taking a baseball bat to a limousine, and shouting every word at the nearest authority figure. And this makes Conor Oberst a writer of awesome punk rock lyrics,” which I’m not entirely sure was written with a straight face.

Cohen tracks through the album with cryptic nods for each track. His most accurate observation: “...a topical record that’s been cobbled together over the span of five years is going to sound dated in a 24-hour news cycle. It’s not just the references to Occupy or the NSA’s Fairview surveillance system or flashmobs, though those tend to jut out like 2012 RT’s on your timeline.” So true.

While he was busy trying to decipher the meaning of every song he forgot to notice that the record out-and-out rocks. For my money, it’s better than Read Music/Speak Spanish, though the new record’s message isn’t as forward-looking as much as reflective. Cohen’s most damning comment was a left-handed compliment: “It would appear that Payola is where Oberst’s been storing the splenetic rage that fueled his most compelling work and has mostly gone missing since I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.” Oh snap!

Read the whole thing here.

Overall, the album is getting raves.

Consequences of Sound gave Payola a B+, saying: “Few bands can return after a 13-year absence and sound vital and fresh, transforming an old-school approach into a process that sounds original. That’s precisely what Desaparecidos have done, making Payola a welcome comeback surprise.”

The Guardian gave the record 3 out of 5 stars and called it “middling” in the headline, concluding “They’re not exactly pushing things forward, but for anyone who wants to take a trip back to when MTV2’s Gonzo was a must-watch, Payola will pave the way.”

Drowned in Sound gave it an 8 out of 10, saying: “There aren’t many bands that would detail a song with the fantasies of a teenage gun obsessive, relate to a radicalised youth or launch a scathing attack on the Fairview Surveillance Programme. That Desaparecidos accomplish these things in the form of such frequently brilliant, perceptive tunes is laudable.”

DIY gave the record 4 out of 5 stars and said “Even Oberst’s accepting shout of “We’re doomed!” towards the end of ‘The Left Is Right’ is less doom-and-gloom and more hopeful. This is an album designed to move people, and ‘Payola’ manages to do so in so very many ways.”

And finally, the old standard All Music gave the record 4 out of 5 stars, concluding: “Politically charged punk rock can be an exhausting and overtly self-righteous affair in the wrong hands, but Oberst and company temper their outrage with unadulterated melodic might, resulting in that rare protest album that rewards both the condemners and the condemned.

Metacritic currently has it in the green at 74. Impressive.

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Speaking of Desaparecidos, Desa keyboardist Ian McElroy’s other project, Rig 1, performs tonight at Pageturners. Opening is High Up, a band that features Christine and Orenda Fink, Greg Elsasser, Josh Soto, Eric Ohlsson and Jason Biggers. The band is “endorsed by the Gifford park Neighborhood Association,” according to their Facebook page. Can’t beat that. 9 p.m. and Free.

Also tonight, Delta Spirit and Friends plays at The Waiting Room. “Friends” could include members of Deer Tick, Dr. Dog and The Walkmen, who have been confirmed for the tour, according to the listing on the One Percent Productions website. $20, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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